Karunanidhi still prefers Stalin to head DMK
Party supremo downplays Alagiri’s opposition
“I will propose M K Stalin’s name for the party president post if I get an opportunity to do so. DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan has already proposed his (Stalin) name and my proposal in effect will mean that I am only seconding him,” Karunanidhi told a crowded press conference here, after a meeting of DMK district secretaries held to discuss strategies for the next Lok Sabha elections.
Karunanidhi’s statement comes days after his another son and party’s Madurai-based strongman M K Alagiri seemingly opposed his hint that Stalin would succeed him as party chief. The DMK patriarch chose to downplay Alagiri’s strong reaction that “the DMK is no (religious) mutt where successors are just nominated.” Karunanidhi said Alagiri made the statement due to “lack of understanding.”
Clarifying his recent remark (“After me, it’s Stalin”), Karunanidhi said his utterance referred to “Stalin continuing the party’s social legacy and responsibility of uplifting the deprived sections of society.”
“I did not declare that Stalin will be the DMK’s next leader,” countered Karunanidhi. He said elections to the key posts of president and general secretary in the DMK would have to await the final phase of the organisational polls, “which culminates in a general council meeting where DMK’s top-most position holders are elected by a majority.”
Brushing aside Alagiri’s reaction to his remarks on Stalin, the DMK chief said he could not be blamed if he was quoted out of context. “My full speech was published in the party organ ‘Murasoli,’ ” Karunanidhi said. Alagiri should have read it before reacting, Karunanidhi hinted. When reporters continued to ask questions about the issue of succession, he said he “will propose Stalin’s name (for party president post) should the occasion arise.” When asked whether it meant he backing out from the president’s post at the next general council to give way for Stalin, an emotional Karunanidhi said, “I don’t know whether I will live that long.”
When a reporter insisted that even Alagiri wanted to become the party president, the DMK patriarch retorted that the party “is a democratic organisation and anyone who wishes to contest can put in their nomination at the time of elections to the top posts. Karunanidhi said he did not think there would be Lok Sabha elections before 2014. A decision would be taken after considering the opinion of the party’s high-level policy committee.